Petting zoos for fun and profit

Today, I wanted to talk a little about an out-of-the-box business idea that has worked for some folks: a petting zoo.

This can be a great Forever Cash investment that brings in money year-round, especially if the petting zoo is mobile. With a startup cost of anywhere from $10,000-$50,000 (depending on how many animals and what kind of equipment you buy) you can find a good manager to take care of the daily details and let the passive income roll in.

Here are some great suggestions from an expert website on the subject.

3. Set Up Boundaries
It’s OK to allow poultry and smaller species, like guinea pigs and bunnies, to interact freely with the public, but enclose larger animals in pens where visitors can pet them but not be stepped on or caught in the crossfire between warring animals and accidentally horned, bitten or kicked. Educating the public about farm-animal behaviors and communicating boundary lines can go a long way in keeping both humans and animals safe.

“We do guided tours in groups of 10 and set down very clear rules before even going into the barnyard and we don’t allow certain animals to be petted at all,” say Anne Shroeder, administrator Star Gazing Farm Sanctuary in Boyds, Md. Although the sanctuary doesn’t run a petting zoo, direct supervision of visitors and laying down clear ground rules are good policies for petting zoos to emulate.

4. Keep Mini Animals
Consider featuring miniature animals of larger species. Non-farm folk rarely see miniature cattle, horses or donkeys. These small animal breeds offer the cute factor of baby animals with much less risk.

5. Educate About Farm Animals
“While I understand the desire of children to meet animals, setting something up as a “zoo” and thus “entertainment” gives the wrong message entirely,” says Shroeder, who emphasizes teaching children about compassion toward animals. “Animals are not meant to be entertainment. I think that having a strong educational component is absolutely key if anyone is going to set up such an operation.”

Also, be aware that children tend to come to the farm armed with bread, candy and other unsuitable goodies to feed your animals. Meet each group at the gate and explain why these items aren’t allowed. Explain that farm animals’ diets must be closely regulated and show them what the animals eat. Make it a fun, educational experience so that visitors don’t mind checking treats at the gate.

At the same time, briefly explain animal behavior and warn visitors about the risk of disease or injury. Point out the location of hand-washing facilities and explain that everyone who leaves your facility is expected to use them.

Thinking outside the box can mean big profits for you. Let this blog post get your juices flowing!

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